Walks and days in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District (mostly) Ė 2015

Great Gable by Barrie

Swinsty Reservoir Circuit – Friday 11 December – at last I managed to get out. Short report and photos will follow some time next year!

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Round Kirkby Malham and Hanlith – Tuesday 29 September

Left:  Kirkby Malham church Ė known as the Cathedral of the Dales

Right: Nearly back at Malham on a typical Dales path with barn

A walk on familiar but new territory with good friends Ann and Roger Hiley, plus 4-legged family, Harry and Dylan. Short report will follow.

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Silver How – Thursday 10 September

Left:  Looking towards Helm Crag, Fairfield and Seat Sandal from the northern slopes of Silver How

Right:  Looking down on Grasmere and Rydal Water from the southern slopes of Silver How

Silver How is always a favourite and seemed the perfect choice Ė not too long or strenuous but a lovely summit and lovely views all round. We always take our time and can make a short walk easily last all day. Our route from the village took us past Allan Bank, one time home of William Wordsworth, then onto the fell, up Wray Gill (lovely juniper trees) and so onto the plateau and the summit.The views down over Grasmere village and the vale of Grasmere are superb and the Coniston and Langdale fells stand out majestically.

We always like to find a different return route if possible and this time took us south toward Chapel Stile before turning north again and back toward Grasmere, but still with beautiful views down over the lakes and vale and west to the Coniston fells. And it was a very easy return route too with pleasant grassy paths.

A refreshing brew back at the car before we had a quick look round Grasmere then continuing on our usual post walk programme of Hayes Garden Centre and Lakeland then Tetleys for me and chips for Barrie on the way home. Another superb day in the Lakes.

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Wharfe wander from Bolton Abbey – Tuesday 11 August

Left:  Looking down on the ruins of the beautiful Bolton Priory by the River Wharfe

Right:  My favourite river of all, the Wharfe, near Bolton Bridge

Bolton Abbey, which is not far from home, has been a favourite place of mine for a long time and a place I love to visit and wander the river bank and round the priory ruins. As I couldnít afford to pay £8.00 every visit I decided that in the long run, if I wanted to visit as often as Iíd like, it would be better to treat myself to a season ticket. With 3 car parks to choose from, there is plenty of scope for me to discover new places too.

This time I parked in the village and crossed the wooden bridge by the priory and took the path south to Bolton Bridge. Itís a much quieter path as most people turn north to Barden Bridge. But on this day it was a perfect rural scene with the beautiful trees at their best and sunshine and blue sky. The only hiccup is a field with 2 notices about a bull in the field and being careful of cows with calves, especially if you have a dog with you. Iím not too bothered about cows although I do always keep a wary eye out for them. But they were, like me, enjoying the lovely weather and were nearly all lying down in the shade of a tree.

I crossed the river at Bolton Bridge, which is so much quieter since it was bypassed, then walked along the river bank and so back to the priory and the car. I was only out for a couple of hours and the walk was only a couple of miles, but itís so nice to be able to stay as short or as long as I like.

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Little Mell Fell – Friday 5 June

Left:  Looking towards the western fells from the slopes of Little Mell Fell

Right:  At Little Mell Fell summit

I donít get up to the Lakes much these days but when I do I like to get up a hill, even if itís only a small one. The last time Barrie and I had been on Little Mell Fell (have a look at 28 January 2002) weíd been blown up and down it in a very short time. So it fit the day perfectly as the weather was OK and hopefully weíd be able to have a more leisurely walk than last time. The view over Ullswater and across to the far eastern fells is, in my opinion, one of the best in the Lake District.

Even though itís not far to the top and all on easy grassy paths, I realised how unfit I was as at one time I even considered giving up and going back to the car. I must remedy that soon and get fit!

Although it was quite grey and the visibility not great it was wonderful to be at a summit again, made even better by the constant song of the skylarks. We contoured around the eastern slopes of the fell and found a very pleasant spot to have lunch and admire the views down over Ullswater and beyond. Fabulous.

Then it was our usual trip to Hayes, Lakeland and beer for me and chips for Barrie on the way home at Gargrave. Although our trips are infrequent these days, they are still very special days in a very special place.

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Low Wood and local wander by the canal – Wednesday 20 May

Left:  The colours of the trees were absolutely fabulous as seen in this beautiful green

Right:  I love the way the trees on the left lean over

I needed to get out but didn't want to drive too far and part of this walk was new to me, even though I've lived here 22 years! I parked at Holden Gate and walked down through the fields, past Jaytail Farm then cut across Riddlesden golf course and down to the canal at Low Wood. I then walked along the canal bank to Holden Bridge then up to Spring Crag Wood and Alder Carr Wood. I wanted to see the bluebells, which these woods are well known for. There were certainly plenty about but they were past their best rather. The beautiful green of the trees was the highlight of my short walk...but it was good to walk on new territory, even if it is only a couple of miles from home.

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Malham classic circuit – Friday 24 April

Left:  The clapper bridge on the way to Malham Cove

Right:  Pennine Way sign on the top of Malham Cove. We went left to Gordale scar

This was a walk that had been planned for several months but owing to work and other commitments had kept getting postponed. However, it's always grand to do the Malham classic circuit of Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss. Mind you, owing to my lack of fitness, it took me longer to climb the 400+ steps up the side of the cove than I'd have liked. My companion, who is a professional photographer, was up a lot quicker than I was! Unfortunately, the clear skies promised turned to grey murk and the views were not at their best. But it was a fun walk and very quiet with not many people about.

A highlight of the walk had been seeing the peregrine high up on the cove, where they are nesting. Fabulous. A couple of drinks in the Listers Arms was very welcome and rounded off a very pleasant day in the Dales.

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Barden Bridge to Burnsall – stage 3 of my Dales Way walk – Tuesday 21 April

Left:  Looking north along the Wharfe from near Barden Bridge

Right:  The stepping stones at Drebley – and no, I didn't cross them

It was just over a year since I started my Dales Way walk and although Iím in no hurry to get it finished, I thought it was about time I got a bit more of it walked. I decided on doing the short stretch from Barden Bridge to Burnsall thinking that if I was feeling fit I would park at Barden Bridge and make it a there and back walk (7.5ish miles). But Iím not as fit as I could be at the moment so I decided to park at Burnsall, get the Pride of the Dales little bus to BB then walk back.

You know what they say about the best laid plansÖI was too early for the bus but too late to park free up by the church, or anywhere else in the village as it was heaving! It was also turning out to be a rather hot day. I set off along the path which on this stretch follows the river a lot of the time. But by the time Iíd got level with Appletreewick I realised it was nearly bus time and I was feeling rather warm. I took the path, known as Onion Lane (onions were apparently once sold there), into the village and had a 15 minute wait (luckily there was a nice tree to get some shade under).

I thought Iíd cool myself down with an ice cream at Barden Bridge before I set off back – it was lovely but already melting very fast so I had to eat it much quicker than I wanted. I know the route very well from here – much of it is by the river and is certainly a beautiful stretch – as they all are really! It was certainly too hot to hurry and I did stop quite a lot to take photos. There wasnít much wildlife about although I managed a lovely shot of a sand martin as it preened itself on a fence.

Hopefully, it wonít be too long before I get the next stretch done, which will be Burnsall to Grassington, another stretch I know very well and love very much as it passes near Hebden, where my late husband was born and crosses the suspension bridge built by my late great-great-great father-in-law (I think thatís the right number of greats!)

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Top o' Selside – Wednesday 4 March

Left:  Looking across Coniston Water to Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag

Right:  Top o' Selside summit cairn looking to the snowy northern fells.

I canít believe how fast the couple of months of 2015 passed. Busy with work and family things meant not getting to the Lakes till the first week of March. Again we were determined to be on a fell and get to a summit but still not wanting anything too strenuous. Having completed the Wainwright 214 some 12 years ago, I have always wanted to get some more of the Outlying Fells done. Top oí Selside seemed just like the right one for the day.

We parked in a not very well known car park on the east of Coniston Water near High Nibthwaite took AWís easier option (avoiding a steep scree slope Ė not something you expect to come across on these lower outlying fells!) and followed a good track up through the trees then coming out onto the open fellside, which gave fantastic views across the lake to the Coniston fells (the Old Man and Dow Crag). It was pretty cold and windy at the summit so we didnít stop long apart from to take a few photos. We headed back the same way but continued down the track to High Nibthwaite village then it was a pleasant walk back along the quiet road (2 cars passed us) with more fantastic views across the lake.

We then called at the Farmersí Arms pub at Lowick Green which is owned by Sophieís partnerís uncle. What a fabulous place Ė possibly the oldest pub in the Lake District. Then our usual trip to Hayes then back via the pub for chips for Barrie and a pint for me. A great day, as usual!

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